Make a Deal to End the Shutdown: Fund Border Security and Protect the Dreamers
Last night President Trump addressed the nation to highlight the need for greater border security at our southern border. He also asked for all citizens to contact their lawmakers before his meeting with congressional leadership tonight and tell them that they support securing the border. President Trump is demanding $5.6 billion for securing our border to end the government shutdown. Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer have both said that Democrats will not vote on any bill that funds a border wall. However, Schumer and Pelosi have both previously supported bills that fund physical barriers at the border while protecting the Dreamers, which many Republicans also support! So why not make a deal?
There is no reason Democrats shouldn’t be able to work with the President on this. Democrats have supported funding for border security at much higher amounts than the President is asking for today. Now they are claiming that $5.6 billion for a barrier is "immoral, ineffective, and expensive.” We all know walls work (when combined with technology and personnel), and they have worked throughout history!
Democrats’ opposition to funding the wall is mostly about politics and resisting President Trump. As a result, they are forsaking their own goal of providing Dreamers with permanent legal status!
In a cabinet meeting last week, President Trump said he would be open to signing a bill that both funds the wall and protects the Dreamers. Republican Senator Lamar Alexander has the right idea. He’s suggesting three sensible immigration policy options to end the shutdown:
Go small: Give the president the $1.6 billion he asked for in this year’s budget request, which the bipartisan Senate Appropriations Committee approved. Provide an additional $1 billion to improve border security at ports of entry, which everyone concedes is needed.
Go bigger: Pass the bill that 54 senators voted for last February, which combined a solution for children brought to the United States illegally (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA) and $25 billion in appropriated funding for border security over 10 years. The bill failed only because of last-minute White House opposition.
Go really big: Begin the new Congress by creating a legal immigration system that secures our borders and defines legal status for those already here. In 2013, 68 senators — including all 54 Democrats — voted for such a bill, but the House refused to take it up. That bill included more than $40 billion and many other provisions to secure our borders.
I applaud President Trump and Senator Alexander for their efforts and willingness to make a deal that will start to move the needle toward fixing our broken immigration system. The Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013 that Alexander refers to in the third option would be a great framework to start with.
I encourage Republican and Democrat lawmakers to put politics aside and pass immigration reform that not only secures the border and increases our national security, but that provides the undocumented workers who are here and can pass background checks with a method to earn their legal status so the government can ID and tax them properly.
Please continue to contact your lawmakers, and tell them that you support sensible immigration policy!
May God continue to bless America!